The Q&A Archives: Rose Maintenance

Question: What is the proper way to prune roses and what is the proper way to deadhead roses?

Answer: Roses are typically pruned in early March, just as new buds begin to show. Since this winter's been mild, I expect your roses are already beginning to bud out. You can prune now, and here are the basics: remove the dead and damaged canes as far back as necessary. Then, remove any suckers that arise from below the graft union, if there is one (the swelling near the base of the plant). Next, select the healthiest canes (thicker and bright green) and cut off the rest. If your roses are just a couple of years old, save about 3-5 canes. Save more on older plants. Lastly, cut the flowering canes back by one-third to one-half. Make your cuts about 1/4" above an outward-facing bud.

When you prune away faded flowers, prune the stem all the way down to the first five-leaflet leaf. This is where new flowering stems will appear. Keep pruning those old flowers off your rose bush and you'll have an abundance of blooms all summer long. Enjoy!

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